Unless, that is, you’re crazy about lamb like I am. You might remember I once ordered Colorado lamb in London and was very glad to get it. I really did do bangers and mash the rest of the time. (Read about American lamb here.)
I adore Colorado lamb (and love eating locally!), but it’s not always readily available or reasonably priced, so….
Once in a while, I just do the expedient, less expensive thing and buy a big boneless leg of lamb at Costco with the rest of the crowd. Why not?
Under $30, it’ll feed 10 people or perhaps more if you stretch it a little. It made a spectacular Easter feast main dish, though I did a slow cooker ham, too. Just so I could keep saying, “We’re having lamnham.” I have nothing better to do than dream this stuff up.
Dave, who’s so great with meat, helped me butterfly and pound out the meat, which I layered with an herb rub and then covered with thinly sliced prosciutto. After I rolled and tied it up a la rouladen, I roasted it until it was medium-rare and let it rest covered until it was time to slice it. (Another post for this recipe!) Below: Dave and the rest of the brass at Easter service. So cool to have a talented husband!
Despite its tender, sweet and savory taste, I had several slices leftover as the table was so very full. We picked at it for a couple of days and then I knew I had to do something serious with what was left or it would spoil. Enter a spring stew–so called as it contains peas and asparagus– cooked a bit backwards, for instead of cooking the raw meat and adding the vegetables, I instead had to cook the vegetables and add the meat later. Never-the-less it was fabulous and the just right thing to be cooking for one more snowy afternoon and evening.
SPRING LAMB STEW from leftover leg of lamb
A turnip, a small rutabaga, a sweet potato or yam, some fennel, parsnip, or parsley root could all serve beautifully in this stew in place of potatoes and/or carrots. Add some minced garlic if you like, as well. See cook’s notes if using fresh lamb.
- 1 each tablespoon olive oil and butter
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 each celery stalks and medium carrots, sliced
- 1/4 cup chopped ham (can use a strip of bacon–chop it finely and cook with the vegetables)
- Handful parsley, chopped plus a bit for garnish)
- 2 tablespoons each: chopped fresh dill and rosemary (or 1 teaspoon each, dried)
- Kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, crushed red pepper
- 1 cup red wine
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 4 cups chicken stock (or 32 ounces boxed chicken broth, low-sodium)
- 2 cups water
- 3/4 – 1 1/2 pound(s) cooked leg of lamb, trimmed, and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces, divided
- 1 large white Idaho potato, peeled, and small diced
- 1/2 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces; reserve tips to use at the end so they are just barely tender
- 1/3 cup frozen or fresh green peas
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese for garnish
In a 6-quart heavy pot, heat the oil and butter over medium flame. Add the onion, celery, carrots, ham, parsley, dill, and rosemary; season with a 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, and a good pinch of crushed red pepper. Cook until the vegetables are nearly tender, perhaps 10 minutes. Pour in the wine and add the tomato paste, stirring well and letting cook down 5 minutes or so. Pour in the broth and the water. Raise heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and stir in 1/2 cup or so of the lamb pieces along with the diced potato. Taste for seasoning. Simmer 20 minutes and add the rest of the lamb, the asparagus pieces (no tips), and the frozen peas. Let cook another 5-10 minutes OR until peas and asparagus are about half-tender; taste for seasoning and add the reserved asparagus tips. Let cook just a minute or two. Serve hot garnished with Parmesan cheese.
Cook’s Notes: If you have fresh, rather than roasted lamb as did I, simply cut your lamb (leg of lamb or shoulder) into 1-inch pieces and sauté it first with half of (all of) the root vegetables vegetables and simmer it perhaps 1 1/2 hours in the liquids or until both the meat and the vegetables are nearly tender. Add the remainder of the root vegetables and cook until everything is very tender, adding the asparagus and peas last, tasting and adjusting seasonings a time or two during the process.
PRINTABLE RECIPE HERE: SPRING LAMB STEW from leftover leg of lamb
Wine: Usually a Bordeaux or an American Cabernet Sauvignon is served with lamb, but both are special occasion wines as the good ones are pricey. I’m happy with a Syrah, a French Rhone, or an Oregon Pinot Noir, even. If you want a larger wine, French Malbec might work–also known as Cahors or Pressac and it won’t break the bank.
Dessert: A little shortbread with whatever wine is left would be sweet and small. I recently made David Lebovitz’ Irish Shortbread and fell in love.
If you liked this, you might like my
Do enjoy your spring–sunny or snowy as you sing a new song,